"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much" (Q33:2I)
When you call yourself a Muslim, what are the basic moral character that should be the symbols that distinguish you and set you apart from the rest of humanity? Or do you think having iman (faith) and a good strength of moral character are separate good virtues for man? Indeed, it is your faith that should drive your moral character because the way you relate to Allah, to yourself and to others must be symbols of the iman that is in your heart. The Prophet (PBUH), the Messenger to all mankind, said: "I have been raised up to perfect good manners" (Malik)
and that "the best beloved of me among you is he who is the best in manners" (Muslim);
and he used to pray "0 Allah! (You have) made my creation good; make also my manners good" (Ahmad).
For the Muslim, the whole of his existence is tied to his faith as Allah commands
"Say verily my salaat, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded I am the first of the Muslims" (Q6:I62-163).
Shall we then look into the life of Muhammad, "the first of the Muslims", to see what his character was like? Allah testifies to the moral character of His Rasul (PBUH) saying:
"And surely you have sublime morals" (Q64:4).
Aishah (R.A.), the wife of the Prophet (PBUH) and the mother of the believers, was asked about the character of Muhammad (PBUH), whereupon she said:
"His morals are the Qur 'an" Surely, he had an exalted standard of character.
Muhammad (PBUH), the best example for us to copy, was very sweet, kind and always used a very polite language. "Ten years", said Anas (RA) his servant "was I about the Prophet (pBUH) and he never said as much as 'uff' to me". He was very affectionate towards his family. He was very fond of children, he would stop them in the streets and pat their little heads. When asked to curse someone, he replied: "I have not been sent to-curse, but to be a mercy to all mankind". There was no pride in him but he was full of concern. He visited the sick, followed any bier he met, accepted the invitation of a slave to dinner, mended his own clothes, milked the goats and waited upon himself. He never first withdrew his hand out of another man's palm and turned not before the other had turned. Strangers were at times puzzled to recognise him from his companions. All his actions were characterised by simplicity and humility. He did not get angry with any man because of personal matters, he was always calm, composed, considerate, contented and happy, in both prosperity and adversity. He lived among the people not as their leader but as a sincere companion and a devoted brother. He was humble and meek to the highest degree, yet he had the courage of the bravest man. The most amazing aspect of his life is that in spite of his astounding achievement and his close intimacy with Allah, he never claimed to be anything but a mortal who had been asked to deliver the message of his Lord to humanity. May Allah continue to shower His mercy on him! (Agreed upon)
Such is the portrait of the Muslim character that the Prophet (pBUH) painted with his life. Do you think he achieved this excellent nature because he was the last Prophet of Allah? Allah knows best; but you can have this excellent Muslim character too if you abide by his advices on your conduct. He said:
"Avoid the seven destructive things; the joining of partners with Allah (shirk); the killing of breathing things which Allah has forbidden unless by right; the devouring of usury; devouring the wealth of the orphan; the turning (of one’s) back on the day of battle and the slander of chaste believing women" (Bukhari).
When asked as to what would mostly have people enter Paradise, the Prophet (pBUH) said:
"the fear of Allah (taqwa) and a good character". (Tirmidhi).
This good character is an aspect of belief and must show in your relationship with other people. The Rasul (PBUH) said:
"Whosoever believes in Allah and in the Last Day, let him honour his guests .... let him be good to his neighbours ... let him speak what is good or keep silent:" (Muslim).
He also gave a guarantee to the believer with a Muslim character:
"Give me to understand six things about yourselves and I guarantee you Paradise; namely be truthful when you talk and fulfil when you promise, restore (a thing) when you are trusted with it; guard yourselves from immodesty, lower your eyes to the ground and withhold your hands (from what is wrong) " (Baihaqi).
Allah puts a final stamp on the umblical connection between having good faith and becoming a symbol of good character saying:
"And the servants of Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility and when the ignorant address them, they say "Peace ", those who spend the night in adoration of their Lord prostrate and standing, . those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance),. those who invoke not with Allah any other god, nor slay such life as Allah has made sacred, nor commit fornication. Those who witness no falsehood and if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable avoidance, those who when they are adorn with the signs of their Lord, drooop not down at them as if they deaf or blind. ... " (Q25: 63 - 73).
Do you possess these character traits; are you a symbol of the Muslim character?
NOT IN OUR CHARACTER
It is amazing but understandable that the portrait painted by the non-Muslims does not represent the character of Islarn. Yet these portraits endures. First of this is that the Muslim is a 'faith man ': 'lazy head'; bowl in hand with tattered clothes, unkempt hair wielding the staff of poverty and begging for coins at the street comer or mosques or he's sitting at home or in masjid chanting some rhymes and drawing on beads all-day long. Some Muslims do beg; but is begging a symbol of Islam? The Prophet (PBUH) said:
"...No servant of Allah opens for himself the door of beggary but Allah also opens up for him the door of poverty '. (Tirmidhi).
He also declared that "the beggar eats unlawfully" (Muslim)
even as he encouraged acts of charity. Nor is it a symbol of Islam to be fatalistic. True, faith is incomplete without belief in Qadar (Divine preordainments) as Allah says:
"...No kind of calamity can occur, except by the leave of Allah ... " (Q64: 11).
Truer still, is that the knowledge of Allah is Perfect, complete and timeless; hence He can and does write down the 'entire life of man even before his birth. This decree is unknown to man and cannot therefore make him believe that "whatever will be will be" even if he does not lift any finger! How can a Muslim be a fatalist when he reads the words of Allah that
"verily, never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves". (QI3: 11)
Do you know Osama bin Laden? Who doesn't by now? Still, it defies imagination that such a handsome, gentle-looking man with luxuriant beard and a face marked with dhikr lines could be cast as the most dangerous man in the world with a $5 million tag on his head! Is he really a terrorist? wa llahu a 'lam (Allah knows best)! Is terrorism a symbol of Islam? No!, this is not true of Muslims. All his words are salaam (peace). He is not an arrogant trouble-maker who goes about searching for jaws to break. Nor is he a meek sacrificial lamb who is required to turn his other cheek to receive another blow. A Muslim stands firmly and unyieldingly to injustice and oppression and minds not if his life is lost in the process!
Finally, is jihad a symbol of Islam? Yes!, but the Muslim does not wield the AK 47 rifle in one hand and the Qur'an in the other forcing every kafir (unbeliever) to accept Islam or be despatched to the next world. He obeys the command that "let there be no compulsion in religion ... ". (Q2:256).
Still, the Muslims must be a jihadist; he must nurse it in his heart and Strive for it with all means including his wealth and live. He must obey the command:
"And fight them until there is no more persecution and religion becomes Allah's in its entirety but if they ceaze, verily Allah sees all that they do" (Q8:39).
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited